Just a month ago there were five active COVID cases in Payson. Today, there are 14, a 180% increase.

Across the state, five weeks ago, just over 4,800 COVID-19 cases were reported in Arizona. Last week, over 13,000 cases were reported — a 187% increase.

With the holidays fast approaching, Arizona Department of Health Services officials are asking residents to do their part to stop the spread.

On Thursday, the Gila County Health and Emergency Management Department reported 55 COVID-19 related deaths in the county since the start of the pandemic.

The most recent, a citizen of Globe was reported in the Nov. 10 release.

The total number of cases in the county count is approaching 1,000 — there have been 923 cases, with 788 recovered.

Of the 923 confirmed cases, 57 are still active, with 34 in Globe, 15 in Payson and three in Miami. Payson has seen the most cases with 424; Globe, 334; Miami, 68; Claypool, 25; Pine, 20; Star Valley, 15; Tonto Basin, 11; and Hayden, 11. Cases in the county’s remaining communities are still in single digits.

Those 65 and older have seen the largest number of cases with 306; people ages 20 to 44 are second with 261 cases. There have been 259 confirmed COVID-19 cases in congregate settings: long-term care, 198; work places, 28; assisted living, 13; and schools, 11; detention centers, 4; and other, 5.

Despite being located in Gila County, the county does not include COVID-19 cases from the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in its count. As of Nov. 15, San Carlos Apache Healthcare reported 2,197 cases there.

Testing opportunity

COVID-19 saliva tests are scheduled in Payson Nov. 20. Appointments are required, no walk-ins will be tested, and participants must schedule an appointment in advance using the Arizona Department of Health Services website in order to be tested.

The tests take place from 8 a.m. to noon, Friday, Nov. 20 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 913 S. Ponderosa St.

Organizers say the testing process takes about 20 to 25 minutes from check-in to departure. The Arizona Department of Health Services has partnered with Arizona State University to launch several testing sites providing free saliva diagnostic testing for COVID-19 in high-need, underserved communities around the state. Sign-up at azdhs.gov. Pre-arranged appointment times streamline the process, and eliminate waiting lines and delays.

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

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